A scene from the 2020 Clam Chowder Cook-Off at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
A scene from the 2020 cook-off.
City Life

BOLO Best Bets: Welcome back, chowderheads, and warm up with theater and art

Hi friends,

Wallace Baine is taking some extremely well-deserved time off, but that hasn’t stopped the Santa Cruz scene from spinning. The African American Theatre Arts Troupe at UC Santa Cruz is about to launch into the second and final weekend of its latest production, “‘da Kink In My Hair,” with a pair of chances to hear directly from the play’s writer, Trey Anthony. After going drive-up amid you-know-what last year, meanwhile, the Clam Chowder Cook-Off returns in person to the Beach Boardwalk. And if the wintry chill has you wanting to keep indoors, you’ve got only a couple days left to check out the Cabrillo Gallery‘s current virtual exhibit on natural and manmade spaces and iconic California images downtown at Curated By The Sea.

— Will McCahill

See our full BOLO calendar listings for events in Santa Cruz here. And as if that isn’t enough, we have you covered for all the MAJOR events coming up into the next year with Down The Line, a listing assembled by Wallace Baine that’s your key to getting tickets before they sell out.

Now, here’s what Team BOLO thinks you should know for the weekend and beyond:

(Click category headers for full BOLO listings in that category.)


“’da Kink in My Hair”: UC Santa Cruz’s longstanding African American Theatre Arts Troupe (AATAT) wraps up the second of two weekends of performances of Trey Anthony’s award-winning play, “‘da Kink in My Hair.” The play centers on a Black hairstylist and her salon in Toronto, as well as the women who tell their stories while having their hair done. The play, directed by AATAT founder and artistic director Don Williams, will be presented at the Mainstage Theater at UCSC on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. On Thursday, playwright Anthony will be on hand to lead a workshop with UCSC students, and on Saturday, she’ll be present at a post-show Q&A. All at the Mainstage on campus.

— Wallace Baine


A promotional photo for the 2022 Clam Chowder Cook-Off

Clam Chowder Cook-Off: Chowder lovers rejoice as the Clam Chowder Cook-Off returns for a 41st annual event at the Beach Boardwalk. Amateur cooks will compete on Saturday and professionals on Sunday. Don’t miss this chance to spend your day outside with some clam chowder and the ocean breeze.

— Max Chun


“Natural Habitats”: The Cabrillo Gallery was all set to open its latest exhibit, a group show meditating on natural and manmade spaces. That was before the Omicron variant. This exhibit is virtual, with local artists participating in this ambitious project including Andrea Borsuk, Glenn Carter, Myra Eastman, Janet Fine, Sara Friedlander, Anne Green, Lidia Hasenauer, Melissa Kreisa, Stephanie Martin, Ed Penniman and Robynn Smith. The exhibit runs through Friday.

“Iconic California”: Downtown gallery Curated By the Sea presents a show in collaboration with the Bay Area and Monterey Bay chapters of the California Art Club, with more than 50 pieces devoted to the iconic images of California, from the Golden Gate Bridge to cypress and eucalyptus trees to the peaks of the high Sierra. “Iconic California” runs at Curated through Saturday.

Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship: The legacy of the late Santa Cruz artists and philanthropists Roy and Frances Rydell is a biannual fellowship providing grants to four local visual artists with national reputations. Over the years, the Rydell fund has contributed more than $600,000 to local artists, and the Museum of Art & History in Santa Cruz is showcasing the 2020-21 winners: printmaker and illustrator Ann Altstatt, designer and artist Marc D’Estout, dancer and choreographer Cid Pearlman and photographer and printmaker Edward Ramirez. The Rydell fellows are the focus of a broad new display at the MAH’s second-floor Solari Gallery. The show runs through March 20.

Take Aways: Art to Go!: Pajaro Valley Arts in Watsonville is ushering in 2022 in a big way with a new exhibit featuring the work of (this is not a typo) 73 local artists. This gigantic all-star team of Santa Cruz County visual artists are presenting pieces to fit every budget to raise money for PVA in sculpture, photography, glasswork, fiber, encaustic and several other mediums. The PVA gallery at 37 Sudden St. in Watsonville is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A reception is planned for the closing of the show March 6.

“Atmosphere”: Monterey Bay artist Enid Baxter Ryce taps into the familiar winter weather patterns for anyone who lives in Northern California in her interactive, multimedia exhibit, “Atmosphere,” at the Museum of Art & History in downtown Santa Cruz. Using paintings, photographs, film and even an interactive soundscape sculpture, Ryce brings together collaborators musician Lanier Sammons, historian William Cowan, sculptor Natalie Jenkins and scientist Dan Fernandez to example phenomena such as “atmospheric rivers” and winter fog. (There is a “fog collector” on hand as well.) The exhibit runs through the winter/early spring months, until May.

— Wallace Baine


Singer-songwriter Richard Thompson
(Via Richard Thompson)

Richard Thompson: Fans of British folk-rock would have no problem applying the tag “lion-hearted” to the great Richard Thompson, one of the most underrated master guitarists alive who’s also built an astonishing and diverse career as a singer-songwriter. Even with some 40 albums dating back 50 years, the 72-year-old Brit demigod is far from finished, still making albums and also contributing original soundtrack music to the work of Santa Cruz-based filmmaker Erik Nelson. Thompson returns to Santa Cruz with a solo acoustic show at the beautiful Cocoanut Grove on Saturday night.

Connie Han Trio: That bright comet you see in the jazz world’s night sky just might well be 23-year-old Los Angeles pianist Connie Han. She brings not only big chops and a swinging sensibility to her work, but she dazzles with a brash and provocative image as well, best illustrated in the title of her most recent album, “Iron Starlet.” Han brings her trio to the Kuumbwa Jazz Center on Monday.

Cactus Blossoms: The Twin Cities duo the Cactus Blossoms aspire to many of the great brother acts, from the Louvins to the Everlys. Singers and guitarists Page Burkum and Jack Torrey are indeed brothers, and they are poised for a breakout with their sweet new Americana-flavored release titled “One Day,” featuring guest contributions from Jenny Lewis. The Blossoms play Felton Music Hall on Wednesday in their campaign to make some noise in American music.

John Craigie: It’s been almost 20 years since singer-songwriter John Craigie first learned his craft as a student at UC Santa Cruz. Since then, the California-born, Portland-based recording artist has produced a number of stellar records and has created some great songs, many of them infused with an arch and plainspoken sense of humor, such as the Dylan ribbing “I Wrote Mr. Tambourine Man” and his latest, “Laurie Rolled Me a J.” Craigie returns to Santa Cruz for a big two-night run at the Rio Theatre next Wednesday and Thursday, March 2 and 3.

Sierra Ferrell: West Virginia-born singer and songwriter Sierra Ferrell has traveled the country polishing her sound, and the end result is a seductive and heartfelt sound steeped in country and mountain folk, but with a jazzy spark. With more than a bit of Patsy Cline in her soul, Ferrell sets out on tour to showcase her latest recording, “Long Time Coming,” with a date at Felton Music Hall on Thursday, March 3.

— Wallace Baine


An ad for a speaking engagement by playwright Trey Anthony
(Via UC Santa Cruz)

Trey Anthony: Playwright and activist Trey Anthony visits UC Santa Cruz during a production of her play “‘da Kink in My Hair,” but she’ll also be leading a workshop based on her book “Black Girl in Love (With Herself),” talking to UCSC students and community members on the subjects of family issues, peer pressure, dealing with failure and other subjects. The event is co-sponsored by Bookshop Santa Cruz.

Margaret Atwood: One of the greatest literary figures to ever come out of Canada is the great novelist and poet Margaret Atwood, whose work has always dealt head-on with many of humankind’s most vexing socio/political and spiritual issues. She is, of course, the author of the hugely influential “A Handmaid’s Tale,” as well as many other landmark works, including “Alias Grace” and “The Blind Assassin.” Atwood will be in conversation with author Judy Blume, a literary heavyweight in her own right, in this live online event celebrating the release of Atwood’s new essay collection, “Burning Questions,” presented by Bookshop Santa Cruz on Tuesday. A $33 ticket buys you entrance to the event and a copy of Atwood’s new book. Things get started at 5 p.m.

— Wallace Baine


Hotel Paradox Comedy Night: Alejandro Ochoa headlines this Thursday’s stand-up session presented by DNA at the Hotel Paradox. Born in Los Angeles but now based in San Francisco, Ochoa comes across as charming goofball with an excitable stage presence. His light-hearted nature has won over crowds across California, including and the Sonoma Comedy Fest and the Santa Cruz Comedy Festival.

Greater Purpose Comedy – Madison Sinclair: This week, hosts DNA and Chree Powell invite us to an evening with comedian, writer and producer Madison Sinclair, whom they have dubbed nothing less than “the future of comedy.” Sinclair is a two time #PointsMe finalist on Comedy Central’s “@Midnight,” and has appeared on Seth Rogan’s Hilarity for Charity and MoveOn’s “Laughter Trumps Hate” event.

— Lucille Tepperman


A person examines produce at a farmers market
(Via Pixabay)

Westside Farmers Market: Bring the family out for the Westside Farmers Market, now in its 15th year. Offerings include live music, meats, beverages and other locally sourced products, plus a full espresso bar.

— Max Chun


A promotional image for the Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour

Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival World Tour: Come to the Rio Theatre on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or all three, for a viewing of beautiful documentary films pulled from the 46th Banff Centre Mountain Film and Book Festival. Each night will have different screenings, but no matter when you come, you will be treated to visually stunning landscapes and adrenaline-pumping adventures in action sports, climbing and more.

— Max Chun


A wine tasting event

Aptos Wine Wander: Discover wines from the Santa Cruz Mountains while strolling through Aptos Village. Recognized as an American Viticultural Area in 1981, this region is the first California appellation to be defined by its mountain topography and has played a pivotal role in the history of California winemaking since the 1870s. Sample from local producers including Aptos Vineyard, Bargetto Winery, El Vaquero Winery and Windy Oaks Estate Winery.

— Lucille Tepperman


Playing cards and poker chips
(Via Pixabay)

Casino Night at the Elks Lodge: Get your bankroll ready for action as blackjack, poker, craps and roulette rule the night at this special casino night event. Trade in your chips for raffle tickets to win prizes. The event is reserved for Santa Cruz Elks members, but members are welcome to bring guests.

— Lucille Tepperman


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